Online readers comment on "Finding Austin," by John Nova Lomax, June 9:
Little opportunity: This article is right on and a very accurate account of how Austin has changed over the years. I moved to Austin from a small central Texas town in the late '80s and moved to Houston in 2005. For me the biggest contributor to my exodus (in addition to the massive flood of yuppies/hipsters, the traffic nightmares and the surge in home and rental prices) was the inability to move up in my chosen profession. The level of competition for any decent-paying professional job in Austin is unbelievable. I have achieved in Houston in five years what would have taken decades in Austin. It was a fun place to be young and carefree, but impossible to escape the velvet rut.
Don't move here: I live in East Austin. East 6th Street is not creepy, at least not as scary as 6th Street downtown. We walk everywhere and can stroll down to a small new bar or a great, moderate-priced restaurant any time we want. I have Latino neighbors, African-American neighbors and a homeless man living in the yard next door. I'm a woodworker, and my husband works for Trouble Maker Studios. I don't feel like I've gentrified anything.
I'm not wealthy, but I shop at Whole Foods because I like to know the meat I buy hasn't been tortured before it was killed. I shop at the farmers' market for vegetables, and I can walk to it. I moved to Austin in the '70s and spent many nights at the Armadillo. I've moved away and moved back a couple of times.
Yes, there are those who are snooty, jerk-offs and assholes, but you can find those people in any city in America. I don't particularly like the "progress" — large condo buildings, etc. — but since I don't have to live in them or deal with those people, it doesn't bother me too much. Austin has gotten too big for sure, but over here on the East Side we still live in a small town with a diverse population. I like Austin and for those who don't, hey, you got a right to move, so move.
Great job: This is simply the best essay on current Austin culture I have read. It's like reading a well-funded research study. (I see the piece as a bookend to an article in the Austin Chronicle that signaled the end of the Austin music scene — no more cheap rent, experimental club owners or loyal consumers — published about ten years ago.)
I thought this piece was written with love, deep knowledge and respect, and it captures the city with complete accuracy and the elusive thing called The Truth. Lomax expertly captures Austin's widespread air of denial and self-love (complicated by the shifting demographics that the author highlights) that blind its citizens to their city's slow demise.
The piece is the best description of the process of "Californication," with which I have been struggling for many years now - I witnessed what those cultural locusts did to Seattle in the early '90s and to Austin now — which I think is the direct result of public policies and blasé citizens.
The mood of the piece was spot on: a bit sad and resigned, a bit proud and defiant. The city is not a lost cause. If ya come visit, I'll still show you a big ole Texas time, but we won't be going downtown.
Talk about an inferiority complex: Why the rant about Austin? Sure, Austin is changing. All cities and towns do. I am sick of Austinites complaining about the good old days. There are still plenty of fun, cool, hip things happening in town, but what is deemed hip, cool and fun has evolved (and I would never be caught dead at a place like Qua).
Dallas and Houston have always had this silly rivalry and competition. Leave Austin out of it. Each city is unique and has hip elements. Live where you want and just be happy. No need to degrade someone else's home to prove that where you live is cool. Any city dwellers who want to talk about why their city is superior are just boring posers. Get over yourself.
Reason to write: If you don't live in Austin, you don't understand what a shithole it is. You believe the hype and don't understand how poorly planned and laid out the city is, how awful its local government is and how awful, truly awful, the roads are. Austin is now virtually all hype and no delivery.
Tan Tan's Second Location
Online readers comment on "Tan Tan No. 2," by Katharine Shilcutt, June 9:
Conspiracy theorist: This is typical Houston Press. I understand Tan Tan recently canceled advertising in the Houston Press, so HP turns around and writes a damning review as retaliation. I've seen this Houston Press tactic in the past. HP never criticizes the businesses paying for advertising space in the paper. Typical left-wing tactic from a left-wing paper.
Sure: You're saying that the writers never dis a film, concert or local theater production if they advertise it? Nonsense. Doesn't even merit a response. And I guess you're saying that the recent post about The Moghul's Indian restaurant (an advertiser) was positive? Dream on.
Editor's note: Our advertising and editorial content are completely separate. Whether a restaurant advertises with us has no bearing on coverage.
Tan Tan's great: Every time I go to Tan Tan, I feel very safe thanks to the officers (not armed guards) that work there. They are always respectful and ensure that we are not having any issues. The food is great, and the service is awesome. I have never had a bad experience there, and would highly recommend that anyone who desires some great seafood to come and try Tan Tan No. 2, especially their hot pots, which are to die for.
No. 2 flops: I have frequented Tan Tan for decades, and this place misses the mark. All four times I have tried this location were a strikeout. The original rocks.
Correcting Our View
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In "Finding Austin" [by John Nova Lomax, June 9], we wrote that in 2006, "a strong ordinance dictating an unobstructed line of sight to the Capitol from pretty much all points was weakened to the point of near-meaninglessness."
While Austin's downtown high-rise real estate boom of the last decade did spur the nonprofit Preservation Texas group to add "Texas Capitol Views" to its list of most endangered places list in 2007, no concrete steps were taken by any governmental body to weaken the Austin Capitol Views Corridors ordinance in 2006.
Also, in speaking to Jesse Sublett, we mangled his recounting of several trips to and accounts of South By Southwest. We incorrectly reported that he was mined for 15 items of data when attending a 2009 SXSW day party featuring the New York Dolls. Sublett says he never submits to such requests and says that he heard about the data mining through a report published about the 2011 Rachael Ray SXSW day party.
The Houston Press regrets the errors.